Middle School Builds Community
The Middle School uses half days to build community, complete service hours, and listen to special presentations. That was all on the agenda during the November 9 half day and the first Middle School community day of the school year.
The first part of the morning was spent doing community-building activities. Each advisory was paired with an advisory of a different grade level. Eighth-grade event design students planned and directed the activities. The groups did three of five different activities. There was tower trivia where students answered trivia questions, were awarded jenga pieces when they answered correctly and had to build a tower. Another activity was copycat, where students had something to draw, and each group member was responsible for replicating a quarter of the image. There was the Down by the Banks game to break the ice and help everyone learn a fun fact about each other. Plus two balloon-themed games – one where students built and dropped balloon parachutes from the side of the building and one keep-the-balloons-from-hitting-the-ground game.
The games were designed to get students moving and problem-solve together.
“I saw a lot of smiles and a lot of nice interactions with one another,” Lila, eighth-grade event design student.
During the service part of the day, sixth graders worked in the forest, and seventh graders cleaned up the inside of the school building. Eighth graders had time to work on their community projects. In addition, sixth and seventh graders learned how to be upstanders in the community. Sixth-grade students also had a short brain talk with Middle School student support specialist Jennifer Cappalonga. Seventh and eighth graders listened to a presentation on suicide prevention by the National Alliance on Mental Illness with support from Middle School counselor Stéphane Cohen.
Overall, community day is essential to creating a healthy middle school culture.
“It’s how we build a nice and trusting community, a good way to share interests, and nice for grade levels who don’t normally interact to spend time together.” - Parker, eighth-grade event design student.